Pokémon Learning League (partially found educational web series; 2006-2009)
|Pokémon Learning League's logo and Mission Guides.|
The Pokémon Learning League was an educational web series that used characters from the Pokémon anime to teach students in the areas of science, math, language arts, and life skills. The site first launched in the fall of 2006 and was initially free to use, but on January 1st, 2007, the site’s content was only available to users with a paid subscription. On August 1st, 2008, the site stopped taking new subscribers, but continued to offer its services to existing subscribers until it was shut down at the end of the 2008-2009 school year. Since then, the lessons featured on the site have become incredibly hard to find.
Pokémon Learning League lessons were split into three segments, Watch, Try, and Apply. The Watch segment introduced the user to one or more characters from the Pokémon anime who have a problem. They would then use the PokéPilot to call one of the Mission Guides (a group of characters created specifically for the Pokémon Learning League) for help. The Mission Guide would then teach the characters (and in turn, the user) about the topic specific to that lesson.
Next came the Try segment. This segment was interactive and gave the user a practice problem to solve. The lesson’s Mission Guide would help guide the user through the problem, reinforcing the information discussed in the previous segment.
Finally, there was the Apply segment. In this segment, the user was given a problem to solve on their own, using the information taught in the previous two segments. Once this was completed, a short conclusion video would play, showing the characters solving their problem.
While Pokémon Learning League's brand direction and approvals came from Pokémon Japan, the site and its lessons were produced by third-party companies.
The Pokémon Learning League had its lessons planned, written, and animated by 360KID, a company that specializes in educational games and media for children. The Pokémon Learning League is still listed on their portfolio page, and their animation reel from 2012 shows a brief clip of Ash throwing a Pokéball. 360KID is also responsible for other projects that use the same lesson structure and interface as Pokémon Learning League, such as Professor Garfield.
Two Animators! LLC was another company involved in Pokémon Learning League's production. They had provided vector art for many of the characters and even animated a few lessons themselves. They still have a page on their website dedicated to the Pokémon Learning League, and they even show a short, muted clip of a lesson in their 2007 demo reel.
Finally, Entropy Multimedia was also involved in the site's production. While the other two companies handled the site’s front-end content (the lessons and user interface), Entropy was responsible for the providing the site’s back-end content (coding and maintenance).
Since the site’s shutdown in 2009, Pokémon Learning League lessons have become incredibly hard to find. While the site can be accessed through the Wayback Machine, most of the site’s Flash content wasn’t archived. Since the series was created in Adobe Flash, none of the actual lessons are accessible.
Very few aspects of the Pokémon Learning League are known to be available online. One video, the Watch segment of the Water Cycle episode, was found on Newgrounds, with an upload date of March 28, 2008. Another video, the Watch segment from the How to Make Friends episode, was found on Comdotgame, though its upload date is unknown. However, the interactive segments for these episodes remain lost, and it is unknown if any other episodes are still available online.
UPDATE - 11/29/2017: The Watch segment of the Online Safety episode has been found! It was uploaded to Newgrounds on February 10, 2009, but this version contained a few edits (Quinn wears a marijuana hoodie, NSFW images in the search results, etc). This video was further edited to undo most of the changes and resulted in a version that more closely resembled the original episode.
- Bulbapedia's article on PLL Retrieved 23 Nov 2017
- 360KID's Portfolio Page Retrieved 18 Jan 2017
- Two Animator's Page on PLL Retrieved 26 Jan 2017